Premier League cult hero scores hat-trick for non-league club aged 38 with fans shocked he still plays | The Sun

A FORMER Premier League striker who was once a Uefa Dream Team member has proven he still knows where the back of the net is at the age of 38.

The former Reading and Middlesbrough forward is banging them in for non-league Ilkeston.

Leroy Lita last appeared in the top-light over a decade ago for Swansea City.

Lita, who scored six goals in nine caps for England Under-21s, grabbed a hat-trick to help his latest club to a 3-1 win at Needham Market on Saturday.

Those were the veteran’s first in five outings for the seventh tier outfit from Derbyshire.

Lita was part of Chelsea’s academy as a teenager but made his name after switching to Bristol City.


Premier League cult hero looks unrecognisable with his flowing locks cut off

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His 31 goals in 85 league games earned him a move to Reading, where after loan stints at Charlton and Norwich, he enjoyed further success as the Royals won promotion to the Premier League.

He ended up joining Middlesbrough in 2009 but left after two seasons to sign for Swansea, where he spent three years.

Lita’s career then took him to Birmingham, Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton and Barnsley with a loan spell at Notts County as well prior to him making the move to Greek minnows AO Chania.

He returned to England in League Two with Yeovil Town for a short-term stint in 2016 before his now nomadic journey ventured to Thailand with Sisaket.

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But the following year he was back in the UK to start his non-league adventure, playing for the likes of Margate, Salisbury, Chelmsford City, Nuneaton Borough, Stratford Town and Hednesford Town.

Lita joined Ilkeston last month, and chairman David Hilton said: “Leroy is well experienced and we feel he offers another great option for us.

“Considering he’s played in a side struggling all season with goalscoring opportunities limited, he is still high in the scoring charts.

“I’m excited to see his return for us knowing we have such great creativity.”

Lita was also once named in Uefa's Dream Team for the U21 Euros back in 2007 alongside future greats such as Juventus and Italy legend Giorgio Chiellini and Manchester City's Premier League winner Aleksandar Kolarov.

He scored a total of 10 goals in 65 top-flight matches.

Following the news of his hat-trick, one fan commented: “Leroy Lita there’s a blast from the past.”

Another wrote: “That boy was born to score goals.”

While another simply tweeted: “Still got it!”

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